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Friday Report: 'Contraband' Beats 'Beast' on Friday

by Ray Subers

January 14, 2012

Mark Wahlberg flexed his box office muscles on Friday with his latest thriller Contraband, which easily claimed first place with an estimated $8.7 million. Disney's 3D re-release of Beauty and the Beast was far behind in second, though it should close the gap substantially by the end of the four-day weekend. The final newcomer, Joyful Noise, edged out Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol for third, though positions could reverse over the next few days. Overall, the Top 10 made an estimated $32.6 million yesterday, which is identical to the same Friday last year.

Contraband's $8.7 million start was higher than other Wahlberg thrillers like Max Payne ($7.04 million), Four Brothers ($6.98 million) and Shooter ($4.8 million). It was also an improvement on January 2010's Edge of Darkness ($5.6 million), and was even a bit up from similar movie The Town ($8.3 million). For the four-day weekend, Universal is predicting around $29 million.

Beauty and the Beast 3D debuted to an estimated $5.6 million, which is notably off from The Lion King 3D's $8.9 million last September. A decline was to be expected, though, considering how popular The Lion King is in comparison. Beauty should finish the four-day weekend with over $25 million, which will make it the latest confirmation that 3D re-releases can be a very profitable endeavor.

Joyful Noise earned an estimated $3.3 million yesterday. That's a bit down from Queen Latifah's Last Holiday, which opened to $3.7 million on the same day in 2006. By the end of the holiday weekend, Joyful Noise will likely have made close to $13 million.

Facing its first real competition in Contraband, Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol slid 47 percent to $3.3 million. Still, the movie has now grossed $178.3 million, and it should pass the first Mission: Impossible's $181 million total sometime today.

After it opened huge but drew a near-unprecedented level of hatred from its audience, The Devil Inside plummeted 84 percent to $2.7 million on Friday. For comparison, Paranormal Activity 3 and The Last Exorcism both only fell 76 percent, which is still pretty atrocious. One recent movie with a worse drop is the 2009 Friday the 13th remake, which yielded 86 percent on its second Friday ahead of a weekend that was down over 80 percent. The Devil Inside is probably in for a similar fall, though at this point it doesn't really matter—the movie has already scared up $41.1 million, which is more than The Last Exorcism made in its entire run.

Following two successful weeks in limited release, The Iron Lady expanded to 802 locations on Friday and earned $1.57 million. Its $1,958 per-theater average is a tad lower than Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy's from its expansion last Friday. Still, it puts the movie in line for over $5 million for the holiday weekend, which is a very solid start for the Margaret Thatcher biopic.

Related Stories:
Weekend Forecast: 'Beauty,' 'Contraband' Set to Lead MLK Weekend

Related Chart:
Grosses for Friday, January 13, 2012

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New MPAA Ratings Added